I had big plans for October. 1 road half and 2 hard trail half’s. The last one was supposed to be my victory dance for the year. Ok, maybe less victory and more proof of will power but still.
Then October knocked me back a few pegs. I feel like I lost 5 years of fitness in the last 4 weeks. Is that possible? I feel like it is now. This bout with asthma is kicking me hard. It’s been years since it’s been this rough and I still can’t figure out what triggered it. I ran 5 miles last week- 5. (Also consider this Week 43) How is that going to get me to a 50K? It won’t.
And for once I’ve been smart about things. I dropped to the 10K for both the road race and Space Rock. And that last trail half that was supposed to be a party? That was supposed to happen a few days ago- Sunday. I didn’t even try. I knew I wasn’t in the head space or shape for 13ish miles of hard effort climbing. And they had no shorter distances. Attempting it likly would have set me back months in the long run.
I’ve run numerous races sick, some feverish and possibly out of it. Why? Because Goonies never say die? That’s stupid. I may be getting to an age I don’t want to admit anymore but maybe I am finally learning a few things. Maybe.
So when the road hits a fork, you have choices. I could bury my head in the sand and just be a lazy bum until next year. I mean, cold weather is coming right?
Nope. I am still aiming for a 50K in the early months of 2020. So in keeping with that theme, I have a new plan for the next 7 weeks culminating with a local-ish 25k in December. This should give me time to make up some of the ground I lost in the last few weeks. Also this race is a known entity– I know where the killer climb is and where the other mountain is. And the cruel turn-around. And I will be training on these trails. If I say it decisively, it will happen, right?
I may have finally figured out how to fuel my body, now I just need it to breather properly.
First race of the year, first 25K, first recap of the year! And it was a doozy. I tend to get long-winded in recaps so let’s see if I can condense this somewhat. And feel free to shake your head and grumble/ yell while you read.
Thursday- Checked the race website late that night and discovered a course change. They had offered a 5 mile, 7 mile, 25K and a 50k. Now the 7 mile was an 8 mile and the 25K course had changed. Previously the description said that the course was out the Bluff trail up and down Valencia Peak, back to start and then up to the grassy summit of Hazard Peak and back. Now, it stated that the course was up Hazard Peak, down the backside to a farther point before turning around. Waah. Truthfully, I had been trying to talk my mom out of doing the 25K for the last two weeks- all the way up to start time.
Race morning dawned bright and sunny. It was 65º at the start with not a cloud in the sky nor fog-in January. See where this may be going? There were a few pre-race announcements and we were off!
Miles 1-3 —-14:02, 14:02, 15:52
Ok, not too bad, we’re doing good. Damn, mom walks fast, I can’t keep pace, but when I jog I out pace her. Tricky, tricky. Mile 3 starts the climb.
Mile 4-5—- 18:34, 26:48
Hello Valencia. I start outpacing my mom, her knee was sore but it was manageable. I stopped and waited for her at times on the way up. Disclaimer- she told me to do that- shouldn’t have done that. The thing about Valencia is that it is deceptively tall, you think you’re near the top, but it takes so long. Plus the shale makes footing sketchy. But we made it- first climb done.
Mile 6-8 —- 22:14, 15:27, 15:38
Again, shale made the first part of the downhill sketchy but we turned to a different trail down. Hard pack, much better. Picked up the pace as we made our way down to the start line and only aid station. Those continuing on for the 25K and 50K went down some funky stairs behind the finish line before going through the parking lot up another set of funky stairs to another trail. Let’s call them the stairs of death. Man-made, uneven, random heights and absolute hell for someone with a sore knee. Can you guess what’s coming?
Mile 9-11 —- 20:53, 22:41, 25:37
Heading up Hazard in full sun, the temp had climbed to above 70º. My mom was in pain and slowing down. I was trying to not get too far ahead of her but sometimes I did and would double back. She started cramping at mile 10 but refused to quit. She had been drinking water and had eaten her fruit snacks but it was hot out there. We stopped and I made her drink more and gave her the pretzels that I had in my pack for the salt. I also took her pack at this point. We continued up pausing for all the runners coming back down and mountain bikers and horses. Once at the top of Hazard, I tried to get her to quit again. I also thought it was only .5 mile to the turn around. Ha!! Closer to a mile. A nice runner offered my mom a gel but we didn’t think it would help. I had become a water dictator and was telling my mom to drink every 2-3 minutes. I also noticed that my Garmin was off… by a lot.
Mile 12-14 —- 23:12, 23:35, 20:04
It was hot, she was cramping but refused to quit. I ate it on the shale but managed to pull some cool shale surfing move and stayed mostly upright. At least it felt cool, not sure what it actually looked like. At this point a woman passed us on her way back and says-“Oh, I thought I was last”. Umm, not cool. Particularly when there were 2 people behind us. On the way to the turn around, I pulled out my phone and noticed numerous texts from the Pops. Crap. I tried calling but lost signal. A nice runner man had given my mother 2 salt tabs at that point. They didn’t stop the cramps but probably kept them from getting worse. My phone rang when I was almost back to the top of Hazard- Pops!. My mom was a little behind me. He asked where we were (mile 13) and I predicted it would be another hour at least. He asked about our water- I said she still had a bottle and I had given her my Gatorade. What I didn’t tell either of them was that I was completely out by then and we had 3+ miles to go. I felt fine but knew it was getting warmer and that was still a fair amount of distance to go. I popped a piece of gum so I could trick myself. 🙂 I had started the day with 3x the amount of water I usually take for a half marathon.
Miles 15-16.2 —-18:12, 17:56, 3:17
We kept plugging along. I stilled yelled drink every few minutes and we paused when she had a cramp. She now says she will never tell a tennis player to play through the pain again. Just before mile 15, I looked ahead on the trail as it had widened out and saw something awesome. Pops!!! I literally threw my hands in the air and yelled this. He’d come to see the finish but brought supplies because he’s awesome like that and had started hiking our way when we had talked on the phone. He had his camelbak and 2 20oz bottles of water. He’s the best. I took a bottle and we trekked on. .3 miles from the finish line, the only 25K person who was still behind us ran past. Boo. Once again we ended with the damn stairs before crossing the parking lot to the finish line.
Finish — 5:18:10
Once crossing, a volunteer saw me first and asked if I wanted a soda or water. I said my mom needs water, she grabbed a bottle and ran to my mom. We made her drink that and brought her some watermelon as well. She was glad she finished but she was hurting. After water and some stretching I realized that we should have seen Pops by now. So I left her at a picnic table with the packs and water and went to find my pops and get the car so she didn’t have to walk back up to where we parked. I found pops waiting in his truck, he said he’d already walked more than planned and was not going down to the cove. We chatted for a bit and I went to move my car to go pick up my mom so we could all go to lunch.
I was stuck. I tried to back up and just spun my tires. Seriously?! My poor car. I was near my pop’s truck, so I opened my door and yelled for my daddy. There was group of high school boys out hiking that day and 2 of them came over to help too. I finally got loose and headed back to the cove. By now my mother was walking up because she was wondering where the heck I was. So with all the drama, we have no finish line pictures. Boo.
But we finished! Should we have? Probably not. She agrees that next time she will stick to the 8 mile. If this race had been last November like usual, I think she could have rocked it. It wouldn’t have been so warm and she wasn’t hurt yet.
I am not sure why my Garmin was almost a mile longer. I know I walked balk to her a few times but even she agrees it wasn’t enough to get anywhere near a mile. I am not sure if anyone else had a similar issue as we were the last 25k finishers and didn’t do a lot of chatting after. The race was very explicit about the fact that they only had the one aid station and that you needed to carry your own water in between but I think with the temperature being so freakishly high they should have put some water bottles up by the turn around. Just after we left my pops on the trail, a volunteer with a full camelbak was heading up. His plan was to be a roving water station, but by then everyone was 5 hours in. Looking at the finishing times, one 50K’er took the full 9 hours. It hit over 80 that day. Which is great for a day at the beach not so much for an ultra marathon.
Giant shout outs to everyone who helped that day- the girl who offered the gel, the man who shared his salt tabs, the awesome volunteer at the end who helped my mom. I am horrible and didn’t get names but they were all awesome! And I met another SLO ambassador at the top of Valencia- Hi Jason! And to my awesome pops, he saved the day,
Man, this week flew by! How do I have a 25k in 8 hours? Yikes!
Even though my shiny new plan came on Sunday and I was eager to start it, I also had to rearrange the days. In the first week!! But Monday was scheduled as a rest day and I just couldn’t waste a day off of work to run outside. So Tuesday’s easy 50 minutes were completed on Monday. That worked out better than the gym after on Tuesday anyways- work ran late like it tends to after a 3 day weekend. I thought about running on Wednesday after work instead of Thursday but the day just ran away from me. Or rather, my brain did. Every quarter work gives out an award that goes to a few individuals. The people are nominated by their peers and then voted on by a committee. It was something new that rolled out at the beginning of 2014 and is kind of a big deal. The executives deliver the award in person and then a story and picture go up online. Every person who earns the award then has a chance to earn/win the Presidents’ Award for the year. I knew they were coming out to our location because a coworker had received one. I had to be sneaky when I was scheduling the lunches because I wanted everyone to be there to see him get it. They arrived on time and surprise!! I received one too! Two of us! Holy crap! My brain left the building for the rest of the day, I was so excited.Ever since I was sick, I have not been sleeping well. I have had coughing fits every night and it makes it hard to sleep. According to my lovely Fitbit I have been averaging 5 hours a night. Ouch. After a few coughing attacks at work on Thursday, I decided that an extra rest day would be a good idea and skipped the gym. Boo!
Friday was average as Fridays go and I allowed myself to indulge in one cookie at work. The shocking thing came that night when I went to sleep-10 hours? WTH? I knew I was tired but come on! I’ve also noticed that when I sleep with the Fitbit in my sock, it doesn’t measure restlessness very well. Either that or I was unconscious. You’d think that with all that sleep I would be raring to go today. Not so. After running my usual Saturday errands I came home with the intention of running sooner than usual. Instead I took a nap. Seriously? Once I woke up I headed out for an easy 45 minutes. It was not. The whole 4.5 miles felt so hard. I took plenty of walk breaks. Which now leads me to being less than 12 hours from a 25K. Commence the freak out. Even knowing that I am predominately hiking it, I am freaking out. What was I thinking? Maybe I should just go to bed.
Most of my online feeds are full of training talk these days. I don’t remember reading this much last year. Then again my only goal last November and December was to not take a long break from running like I had in previous years. I was constantly starting over every January. In November 2013 I ran 60 miles and 34 in December, not much but miles above previous years. My first race was always in March so I usually felt like I had time to catch up. Beyond that was always up in the air.
This year is ending a little different. With a 25K the last weekend in January and a half the following weekend I need to get my butt in gear now. Combine that with wanting to finally break 2 at SLO in April, and they seem like pretty large goals for this Slacker. Particularly when you factor in my track record with training plans.
Up until 2014, I trained my own way. For the most part it worked for me. But this year I had goals and goals need plans right? For SLO, I used a Nike+ training plan that was just too much mileage for me. I tried Higdon’s intermediate plan for Rock’n around the Pier in July. It didn’t work out so well. Ventura was an effort in denial regarding my stomach and lungs. Oh and remember this gem? Could I have made it any harder to understand?
I started training 12 weeks out from my 25k. Following Surf City, I aim to take a week off before getting back to training for SLO. That’s 11 weeks. With my stomach still dictating most of my pace and never having run back to back double-digit races, my goal for January is to just finish both races- no real speed or time goals. The plan is simple- run 4 days a week, try to cross train once. The tricky part lies in the weekends- back to back runs of at least 6 miles per day, topping out at 12. Even just typing that made me tired. There’s a reason I call myself a Slacker. 🙂 I would like to throw in a speed workout every other week but that will be up to my lovely stomach.
If I can stick to this, I think hope that I will be starting the year with a solid base. Hopefully that base will make me a stronger runner and I can really focus on speed for SLO. Fingers crossed. As for my plan- looking back I realized that my strongest half of the year was Wine Country in March. Granted, I was also the healthiest then. Barring an asthma issue during miles 5-7, I felt strong and ran 95% of it. Damn stupid hill at mile 12. And I trained my way- it was amazingly head game free- and I want to get back to that.
And how am I tracking my plan? A 90 cent student planner and pens because that is how I roll. 🙂 I’ve bought expensive logs and only used them a month. I tried Daily Mile as a way to track and never followed through. This fits in my purse, doesn’t take up a lot of space and I am hoping will be great incentive to keep it up! What can I say, I like filling in the purple for following through!
Never be a naysayer! I said that I didn’t think there was any way that my location would win an award in the Halloween contest at work. I was wrong! We won the “Funniest Location” award. I think it helped that a customer put himself in our chalk outline while the executive was there checking us out. And that wasn’t the only customer who was willing to get down on the floor for a photo opportunity. Turns out the CSI theme was a hit. We get lunch catered in sometime soon as our prize. 🙂
Followed by coming clean-
Hello, my name is Fallon and this is Slacker Runner. Some may have seen the change when I comment on other blogs. Back when I started this blog I was aiming for a little anonymity. So I misspelled my name and blurred my race bibs. Then I got real. I mean, seriously, I was sharing race times, race dates and names of races, etc. Doesn’t take much more than that and there’s my name. Plus it wasn’t even spelled that different. I’ve been meaning to update this for a while but the Slacker in me won for a while. I finally followed through. There a few things I am going to update on the blog in future actually. Fun fact- Falyn came about years ago when I wanted to be a writer and was playing around with pen names. I have a few more stashed away. 🙂
And ending with the crazy-
Last night this happened-Woo hoo! I am stoked. I have wanted to run Surf City for a few years now but always had a reason why the timing wasn’t right. It’s still not right but I’m not going to wait anymore. I am looking forward a fun race. It will also be the biggest race I have run so far- 20,000 runners- that’s a lot of people! This will not be a goal race of 2015, my only goal is to cross the finish line.
Which brings me to why it is still not the best timing. As of right now, I am running a 25K trail race with 3200′ elevation gain the weekend before. Insert sheepish face here!!!! Both of the races will be more like long runs than races. I am both nervous and super excited for them. And yes I understand the insanity of this undertaking. I think. I am currently working on adapting the half marathon training plan that I started yesterday.
Once getting through both of those, I plan to take a week off of running. Then it’s time to train for my goal race for Spring- SLO Marathon Half. Maybe I can break 2:00? I am kind of nervous about having plans like this so early. I rarely plan that far in advance! On the upside, this gives me the perfect incentive to keep working hard through the holidays. Which means I won’t start the new year feeling fluffy and in a training hole. Well, hopefully. 🙂 I have to follow through and get my butt to the treadmill.
Now onto you guys-
Ever sign up for something crazy? Got any training suggestions?
Ever run Surf City? Or SLO? Or back to back race weekends?